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Rain chances increase starting midweek

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Steamboat Springs area has seen another sunny morning with noontime temperatures in the low eighties on this Sunday. We’ll see some low-end shower chances this afternoon before early work week drying precedes a good chance of wetting rains starting on Wednesday and extending through the following weekend.

Though we may see a shower or two near our area this afternoon and early evening, the most noticeable effect if they are close or overhead would be relief from the hot temperatures five degrees or so above our average of 82 F. Incidentally, this average, available on the SnowAlarm home page under the Local Temperatures, Winds & Precipitation heading, has topped out indicating we are in the hottest part of the summer.

As discussed in the last forecast on Thursday, storms to our north are periodically interrupting the monsoonal moisture flow from the south, with one such storm moving across northern Montana tonight. So after a chance of showers this afternoon, most likely at the higher elevations and with more wind than rain, Monday and likely Tuesday stays dry with westerly flow over our area.

But the chance for the eagerly awaited monsoonal rains increases starting on Wednesday as a series of storms moving through the Gulf of Alaska split, with the southern parts of the split leaving an area of low pressure off the West Coast. Pieces of energy from this low pressure area to our west as well as weak and hard to time areas of energy embedded within the monsoonal flow from the south will conspire to produce our best chances for rains so far this summer.

Weather forecast models agree that we will see some wetting rains Wednesday afternoon and overnight as an ill-defined area of energy either from the west or within the moist southerly flow passes nearby. There will also be chances for showers for the following days, though chances decrease and become more confined to the afternoon or early evening. Regardless of whether we see rain and the amounts, it does appear that afternoon clouds will be numerous and temper the above average temperatures of late, though the cool overnight lows will likely increase in response to the insulating effects of a wetter atmosphere.

There is currently a good chance of a robust surge of moisture forecast over our area sometime around next weekend or early during the next work week, though weather forecast models are not consistent with the timing, either among themselves or each other. And the longer range models also disagree on whether the increased moisture hangs around for the rest of the month. I hope to have more details about this cooler and wetter pattern for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

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